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To Lake Balaton By Air: Russian Carrier Suspends Flights As New Services Are Announced

Ferenc Sullivan 2015.04.02.

Despite plans, Russian airline Utair has cancelled its weekly scheduled flight between Moscow and Sármellék near Lake Balaton, a local mayor said.

Utair launched the service between Vnukovo airport and Sármellék near the popular holiday resort Hévíz last year, operating it weekly on Sundays between March and October. But Russia’s economic problems and the extreme fluctuations in the ruble’s exchange rate forced Utair to suspend the service, Gábor Papp, the Fidesz-KDNP mayor of Hévíz, explained. He added, however, that the service is expected to be re-launched in the second half or 2015.

Russian tourists still continue to arrive at Hévíz via Budapest or Vienna, Mr. Papp said, adding that several major airports around the world are affected by the loss of Russian flights.

In an earlier statement to the state news agency MTI, Attila Benkő, CEO of the company operating the airport, said that charter flights that have been connecting several large German cities for one and a half decades are certain to be relaunched on 11 April. This year’s flight schedules will also include a Zürich-Sármellék service, he added. A further new service will be the flight connecting Lake Balaton to the Turkish city of Antalya, operated by the Turkish airline Freebird. The first plane will set out to Turkey on 16 June and the last will arrive on 1 September, with interest in the charter already exceeding expectations.

Last year, the airport was used by a total of 33 000 passengers.

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